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165+ Rib Tattoos for Women to Stir Your Imagination!

by Sherri Owens

As it's so close to your heart, a rib tattoo can make quite a statement. From flowers and butterflies to dragons and hearts, you need to figure out which tattoo is right for you.

As an artist, I have designed hundreds of rib tattoos for women and know just what designs and styles you can get.

In this post, I will introduce to the most stunning tattoo ideas, ensuring that your choice is an easy one.

The Top Rib Tattoo Ideas for Women

Here are the rib tattoos for women that you can draw inspiration from:

Floral Rib Tattoos

Flowers are an incredibly feminine symbol. They are often used to depict womanhood or femininity.

When choosing a rib tattoo for women, your first move is to decide which flower to go with for your tattoo. The flower for your tattoo can be a depiction of your personality. Or, it can be one that has a special meaning for you.

Of course, the tattoo can also be a flower that you simply think is pretty!

A rose tattoo is one of the most common options for a rib tattoo. It is beautiful and a symbol of love. A black rose rib tattoo, on the other hand, can be a symbol of sorrow.

If you want something subtle yet sensual for your rib tattoo, consider getting something like these fine line tattoos:

Rose Rib Tattoo Design

Image by @laneytattoo via Instagram

Rose on Ribs

Image by @ritualtattoostudio_7 via Instagram

Line Art Rose Tattoo on Ribs

Image by @kktattoosandart via Instagram

Black Inked Floral Tattoo on Ribs

Image by @vanessa_tattoos_ via Instagram

Blossoms aren't just beautiful and delicate, they also hold a particular meaning for some. These are usually seen as symbols for a new beginning, making them the perfect design for your tattoo.

Plum Blossom Rib Tattoo

Image by @hamnessy via Instagram

Wild Flowers Rib Tattoo

Image by @tasialarkin via Instagram

Here are some other examples of the floral rib tattoos for women that you can get:

Simple lilies Rib Tattoo

Image by @virginiaswampwitch via Instagram

Colored Inked Floral Tattoo

Image by @deni.tattooing via Instagram

Lavender and Bee Rib Tattoo

Image by @ambersatchwellactor via Instagram

Australian natives flowers rib tattoo

Image by @_jaggeytattoo via Instagram

Tiny Floral Rib Tattoo Art

Image by @tattoosbyell via Instagram

Colorful Red Flowers Tattoo

Image by @tattoostationmyriam via Instagram

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers. With this rib tattoo idea, you can add flowers based on similarity, design, or any other design that you choose.

Water lily rib tattoo

Image by @wayneyslc via Instagram

Linework birth flowers rib tattoo

Image by @elizabethftattoos via Instagram

Matching rib fine line florals

Image by @tattoo_piathaleia via Instagram

A bouquet made up of birth month flowers

Image by @witts.ink via Instagram

Rib Florals Tattoo

Image by @brad.new.tattoo via Instagram

Black Work Floral Art Tattoo

Image by @alexbelangertattoo via Instagram

Rib floral piece tattoo

Image by @xandria.tattoos via Instagram

Black Bold Flowers Ribs Tattoo

Image by @kennethedwards4960 via Instagram

Daisy Flower and Bee Tattoo

Image by @michaela_leightattoo via Instagram

Cute little rib flowers

Image by @tattoosbyryanh via Instagram

Lavender Forget Me Nots and Bumblebees Tattoo

Image by @clairejacksonartwork via Instagram

Rose Tattoo Piece For Ribs

Image by @erkantattoo via Instagram

Cute Little Forget-Me-Not Flower Tattoo Piece

Image by @vandal_tattoo via Instagram

Dainty Daisy Tattoo Piece

Image by @gabxiella via Instagram

A floral bouquet on the ribs

Image by @maddymaitattoo via Instagram

A little lavender bundle tattoo design

Image by @encarnacion.skinblu via Instagram

Tropical Flower Tattoo For Ribs

Image by @tattoo.montenegro via Instagram

Peonies on the side ribs

Image by @black.peony.ink via Instagram

Beautiful line tattoo of poppies

Image by @toughlovetattoostudio via Instagram

Floral Bee and Triangle Stencil Style Tattoo

Image by @lucyjacksontattoo via Instagram

Cute little Floral Rib Inked Tattoo

Image by @eternalhopetattoo via Instagram

Little Dainty Tattoos

Image by @mz_inkk via Instagram

A flower on the ribs

Image by @aliceink_tattoos via Instagram

Are you all about going big, bold, and colorful with your tattoo? Then these are the rib tattoo ideas you are sure to love:

Colorful Side Peonies Tattoo Art

Image by @farbrorerik via Instagram

Sunflower piece for ribs

Image by @time_bomb_tattoo via Instagram

Red Rose with Leaves Rib Piece

Image by @lenoregtattoos via Instagram

Plant Rib Tattoos

Floral tattoos can seem too common of a rib tattoo design. If you are looking for something a little different, why not consider a plant rib tattoo?

As with flowers, plants hold just as much meaning. They can also be beautiful in their own, distinct way. This is why they work so well as inspiration for your tattoo.

Here are some side tattoo ideas to inspire you:

Black Work Leafy Tattoo Piece

Image by @kittymorgann_tattoo via Instagram

Olive Branch Tattoo For Ribs

Image by @ediebea and cosmic.love.tattoo via Instagram

Bonsái Plant Tattoo Piece

Image by @victorcentenotattoo via Instagram

Lemon Tree Tattoo Piece

Image by @viet.ink and studio33_tats via Instagram

Healed Dotwork Fern

Image by @grizzlyayretattoos via Instagram

Butterfly Rib Tattoos

Butterfly rib tattoos for women are pretty popular and it isn't difficult to see why. Butterflies are beautiful and delicate - there is something undeniably feminine about them.

At the same time, a tattoo with a butterfly can be a wonderful symbol for change or transition as well. So, if you feel like you have gone through some important changes in your life, then here are some rib tattoo ideas that you can consider:

Butterfly On The Ribs

Image by @antclaytattoo via Instagram

Butterfly Coverup Tattoo On Ribs

Image by @inkedanatomy via Instagram

Cute Three Butterflies Rib Tattoo

Image by @ebonywilliams_tattoos via Instagram

Flying Butterflies Rib Tattoo Art

Image by @inkdbyjasmine via Instagram

Black Inked Fresh Butterflies Tattoo

Image by @taylorpaigetattoos via Instagram

Realistic Black Butterflies Rib Tattoo

Image by @rays.ink_ via Instagram

Simple Line Work Butterflies Tattoo

Image by @mede.mali.tattoo via Instagram

Stunning black butterflies on the ribs

Image by @urbaninktattoosbelfast via Instagram

Forty Tiny to Large Butterflies Tattoo Art

Image by @artbyaimeebroadfield via Instagram

Tiny Three Cute Butterflies Tattoo

Image by @browlouiejenn via Instagram

Fine line butterflies On Ribs

Image by @laneytattoo via Instagram

Butterflies Flying On Ribs

Image by @tattingwithsophiaa via Instagram

A beautiful water colour butterfly piece

Image by @tattoosbyjon2018 via Instagram

Dreamcatcher Butterfly Tattoo On Ribs

Image by @soho_concept via Instagram

These rib cage designs proves that small tattoos can be both complex and beautiful:

Sweet Pink Butterflies On Ribs

Image by @vellumtattoo via Instagram

Pink and Purple Butterflies On Ribs

Image by @beccambtattoo via Instagram

Blue Pink and Purple Colorful Butterflies Tattoo

Image by @timparkertattoos via Instagram

Butterflies Kissing Ribs Tattoo Design

Image by @alvin.artetattoo via Instagram

This exquisite rib tattoo design isn't just delicate - one of the wings are also made up of roses. The tattoo is hauntingly lovely.

Butterfly and Red Rose Tattoo

Image by @baronart_lucy via Instagram

Red Rose Butterfly Triangle Tattoo Art

Image by @cicero_skptk via Instagram

In case you want a rib tattoo that stands out from the crowd, look at how the 3D design of this tattoo makes it look like the butterfly is actually taking flight.

Two 3D butterflies tattoo on ribs

Image by @angelicctattoo via Instagram

Looking for an abstract tattoo? Check out this awesome design for your rib tattoo:

Line Work Butterflies Rib Tattoo

Image by @silverlinetattooottawa via Instagram

Bird Rib Tattoos

Bird tattoos have been gaining popularity over the last few years as they are often symbols of freedom.

As far as rib tattoo ideas go, birds can be a great opportunity for creativity. The birds for the tattoo can be done in incredible detail. Of course, keep in mind that you are going to need a great tattoo artist for this kind of rib tattoo.

Hummingbird tattoos are a fairly common option for a side tattoo. For one, they are delicate and adorable. For another, the bird in the tattoos are also symbols for perseverance, dedication, and hard work.

Delicate single line bird tattoo

Image by @angelichelllondon via Instagram

Humming Bird Floral Tattoo

Image by @ethereal.tattoo via Instagram

Hummingbirds on the ribs

Image by @ganjatattoos via Instagram

Wild flowers and hummingbirds Tattoo

Image by @abii_tattoo via Instagram

Of course, there are other bird tattoos you can get:

Nature Open Wings Bird Tattoo

Image by @monocletattoo via Instagram

Fineline Songbirds Tattoo Art

Image by @lanaferntattoo via Instagram

Thin Line Bird Tattoo

Image by @kongsvinger_tattoostudio via Instagram

Bold Ink Purple and Maroon Floral Bird Tattoo

Image by @reaganmauldintattoos via Instagram

Tiny Three Birds Tattoo Design

Image by @brighteyestattoo via Instagram

Tiny Flying Birds Rib Tattoo

Image by @elletattoos.ca via Instagram

This tattoo design, in particular, is a truly wonderful choice. Not only is it bold and colorful but the side tattoo has been designed to hug the natural curves of the female form too.

Colorful Bird and Flowers Tattoo Art

Image by @barber_dts via Instagram

Koi Fish Rib Tattoos

Koi fish tattoos are an interesting idea for rib tattoos for women. If you are a fan of Eastern cultures, particularly Japanese, you will know that koi fish represent love and friendship. This is why you will often find two fish in a single side tattoo.

If you choose to have just one koi fish for your rib tattoo, this could indicate strength and endurance.

Here are some koi fish rib tattoo ideas:

Veiltail Gold Fish Breed Tattoo

Image by @a.k._tattoo via Instagram

Simple Linework Fish Tattoo

Image by @bee.inktattoo via Instagram

Butterfly Koi and Fern Rib Tattoo

Image by @therayquinday via Instagram

Double Koi Fish Rib Tattoo

Image by @lady_adctattoostudio via Instagram

Bold Ink Koi Fish Swimming Tattoo Art

Image by @hoon.moon via Instagram

Black Koi Fish and Red Flower Tattoo

Image by @makenatattoo via Instagram

Koi Fish and Lotus Tattoo

Image by @modoink_vivi via Instagram

Koi Fish Yin Yang Design

Image by @xongme via Instagram

Koi Fish Red Tattoo

Image by @paytonwardtattoos via Instagram

Pencil Sketched Koi Fish Rib Tattoo

Image by @kat_tattoos_ via Instagram

Black and Gray Ying Yang Rib Tattoo

Image by @cara_hayward_tattoo via Instagram

Snake Rib Tattoos

On the surface, this can seem like a rather odd rib tattoo to get but it is surprisingly popular among tattoos for women.

For the longest time, snakes have had a rather negative meaning in western culture. However, in certain cultures, the serpent can be a positive symbol as well.

Due to their ability to shed their skin, they are a symbol for transformation, rebirth, or renewal. Since they are associated with the earth, they are also linked to wisdom.

As this rib tattoo for women is so unique, it is a great opportunity for self expression too. If this is a rib tattoo idea that intrigues you, here are some options to consider:

Long Black and Gray Snake Tattoo

Image by @xiaolun_tatt via Instagram

Red Snake Rib Tattoo

Image by @pina_ink via Instagram

Black and Red Contrast Snake and Flower Tattoo

Image by @inkbandyt via Instagram

Tiny Patterned Snake On The Side

Image by @anorsulli via Instagram

Tiny Red Minimalistic Tattoo

Image by @hybridink.helsinki via Instagram

Dark Inked Snake Rib Tattoo

Image by @silviainkocciati via Instagram

Snake On The Plant Rib Tattoo

Image by @alaskastattooingmermaid via Instagram

Thorn Snake On The Rose Tattoo

Image by @notacooltattoo.shanna via Instagram

Snake and Lilies Tattoo Design

Image by @stephie_tattoo via Instagram

Dragon Rib Tattoos

Looking for strong and powerful rib tattoo ideas? Then, look no further than a dragon! They are symbols of strength, protection, and wisdom. What's more, the curving design fits in perfectly with the curves of the waist and hips.

Before you get a dragon side tattoo, I suggest doing some research on the topic first. What a lot of people don't realize is that there are different types of dragons.

Not only are they found in various cultures, but they have different styles as well. Some have smooth curves and clean lines but others may be a bit more dramatic or abstract.

So, make sure to look up the various styles used in tattoos to determine which one is best suited to you.

Chinese Zodiac Snake Tattoo Design

Image by @achtung.tattoo via Instagram

Haku in the form of a dragon tattoo

Image by @oldmoneyink via Instagram

Delicate dragon walk in on the riblets

Image by @deathraytattoo via Instagram

Chinese Dragon Oriental Tattoo Art

Image by @xingalmond via Instagram

Black Chinese Dragon Tattoo

Image by @_bellatattoo and macawtattoo via Instagram

Double Flying Rib Cage Tattoo Art

Image by @loui.tattoo via Instagram

Triple Dot Work Dragon Tattoo

Image by @_._.inc.__ via Instagram

Red Dragon On The Ribs

Image by @achtung.tattoo via Instagram

Dragons amid stars tattoo art

Image by @mayraetats via Instagram

Realistic Depth Inked Dragon Tattoo

Image by @benjykingtattoo via Instagram

Red Ink Japanese Dragon

Image by @benfr33man_tattooist via Instagram

Black Line Japanese Dragon Rib Tattoo

Image by @ceejayace via Instagram

Mountain Range Rib Tattoos

Getting a mountain range tattoo on your ribs can have a variety of meanings. For some, this tattoo indicates nature or a love for travel.

For others, this tattoo is about overcoming a significant hurdle or moment in their life. Mountains can also be a symbol of strength and an unchanging landscape.

Mountain range tattoo on ribs

Image by @colbyleetattoo via Instagram

Desert Dawn Ink Tattoo

Image by @desertdawn.ink via Instagram

Mountains Sketch Tattoo Design

Image by @lucy.o.tattoos via Instagram

Mountain Sunrise and Flowers Tattoo Art

Image by @artist_coley via Instagram

Mountain Moon and Stars Tattoo Art

Image by @emiliyao via Instagram

If you like a more impressive piece of body art for your rib tattoo, you may want to consider the following scenes:

Mountain scenery tattoo

Image by @lucky.cat.tattoo via Instagram

Geometric nature rib tattoo

Image by @puertotattoostudio via Instagram

Sun and Moon Rib Tattoos

If you're looking for a rib tattoo with a lot of depth and meaning, then the sun and moon design is a good one to consider.

There are a few different meanings to this rib cage tattoo. The first is a depiction of two opposing forces. This can be used to show how most people have two sides to their nature.

It is also a good way to describe how opposites attract. A sun and moon rib tattoo shows balance.

Sun and Moon Rib Tattoo

Image by @genesistattooliverpool via Instagram

Sun and moon line design

Image by @ebonywilliams_tattoos via Instagram

Simple Design of Hands Holding Sun and Moon

Image by @izzybryant.ink via Instagram

Combination of Flower and Sun Moon

Image by @celebrityinksurfersparadise via Instagram

A little Bohemian Sun action

Image by @taylormadeinkco via Instagram

Tiny ornamental sun moon tattoo

Image by @beth_rose_tattoo via Instagram

Space Rib Tattoos

If you are looking for a rather unusual rib tattoo, a space tattoo is a good idea. This also works for anyone who is fascinated by moons, stars, galaxies, planets, and the cosmos in general.

One of the great things about this side tattoo is that there are lots of way to get creative with it. Here are some images to help narrow down the kind of rib tattoo you can get:

Small solar system tattoo

Image by @1skeletor3 via Instagram

Colorful Space Tattoo Art

Image by @andypmidd70 via Instagram

Dot-work Moon phases tattoo design

Image by @lisatattoos via Instagram

Combination of Moon Phases and Floral Tattoo Design

Image by @tintenfasstattoo via Instagram

Fineline Lunar Calendar Tattoo Art

Image by @skinart.studio via Instagram

Creation of Adam Rib Tattoos

If you're someone who enjoys classical art, this could be the perfect rib tattoo for you.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo is essentially God giving the spark of life to Adam. It depicts the beginning of humanity.

Of course, even if you aren't an art enthusiast, it is still a beautiful side tattoo to get.

Creation of Adam Tattoo

Image by @shieldmaidentattoo via Instagram

Realism Hands Tattoo Design

Image by @schantelle_tattoos via Instagram

God giving the spark of life to Adam tattoo art

Image by @instyletattoostudio via Instagram

Fineline Tattoo Sketch of Adam Rib Tattoo

Image by @vira.s.tattoo via Instagram

Creation of Adam Rib Tattoo Art

Image by @harry_aranda via Instagram

Black Sketch of Creation of Adam Tattoo Design

Image by @ronentattoo via Instagram

The Creation of Adam sternum piece

Image by @sian.vs.life via Instagram

While you can choose to stay true to the original artwork with your rib tattoo, there are lots of way to expand on this idea. You can put your own spin on it, if you choose, like this side tattoo here:

Red String of Fate Pet Tattoo Art

Image by @takko.san via Instagram

Heart Rib Tattoos

This may seem like an obvious rib tattoo idea, but you will be pleasantly surprised by just how many different designs you can get.

There is no need for it to be boring or a copy of what someone else has done. Instead, check out just how much fun you can have with this rib tattoo idea.

Anatomical Heart Tattoo

Image by @kewkba_tattoos via Instagram

Butterflies and Flowers in the form of heart

Image by @manualdanualtattoos via Instagram

Tiny Black Work Heart Tattoo

Image by @ropuszka_tattoo via Instagram

Rib Tattoos with Sayings

It isn't surprising that so many people get special phrases, poems, or sayings as a rib tattoo.

A side tattoo keeps the words close to your heart, helping you to remember them every day.

Breathe Text Rib Tattoo

Image by @inksane.tattoo via Instagram

Love Text Tattoo On Ribs

Image by @kamicak_tattoo via Instagram

Flowers with Text Tattoo

Image by @b.u_tattoos via Instagram

customised calligraphy tattoo art

Image by @leo_tattooz via Instagram

Never Giveup Quote Tattoo

Image by @wildberriesink.tattoo via Instagram

My Only Sunshine Quote Tattoo

Image by @markbyhaley via Instagram

Life Feelings Quote Tattoo

Image by @bleeding_needle_tattoo_studio via Instagram

Italian Word per sempre with tiny heart tattoo

Image by @riseandreign_piercings via Instagram

Serbian Quote Tattoo Art

Image by @kamicak_tattoo via Instagram

Perfectly Imperfect Quote On Ribs

Image by @amber_mindovermattertattoo via Instagram

Life Quote On Ribs

Image by @inking_tattoo via Instagram

Keep Going Lettering Tattoo

Image by @nbneedlez via Instagram

The ones that love us never really leave us lettering tattoo

Image by @rowenas.tattoo.art via Instagram

To the moon and back text tattoo

Image by @chloetattooart via Instagram

i want to believe lettering tattoo

Image by @kamicak_tattoo via Instagram

Black and Gray Script Tattoo

Image by @inksane.tattoo via Instagram

Cute little rib script

Image by @andyarchertattooist via Instagram

choose to be me simple text tattoo

Image by @hybridink.helsinki via Instagram

Bold Long Text Tattoo

Image by @el.aesthetic.tattooer via Instagram

Butterfly Quote Tattoo

Image by @inkbeba via Instagram

Floral Heart and Text Tattoo

Image by @danidaltontattoo via Instagram

Long Script Tattoo with a tiny red heart

Image by @inkedlifegfx via Instagram

Quote and a Fly Tattoo Design

Image by @redrighthand_tattoos via Instagram

Memorial Rib Tattoos

If you want to pay tribute to someone you have loved and lost, a memorial rib tattoo on your rib cage is a great idea.

Month Date and Year Tattoo

Image by @ec_artisticflow via Instagram

Beautiful Piece of a Memory Tattoo

Image by @kenohtatts via Instagram

This particular rib tattoo pays tribute to a grandmother. Not only is it beautiful and sad, but the runes add a touch of personalization too.

Twin Birds With Flowers Tribute Tattoo Design

Image by @bloodlustxtattoo via Instagram

Matching Rib Tattoos

Matching rib tattoos can seem more meaningful. This is probably because they are situated in such a central place on your body.

Here are the side tattoo ideas you can get with a loved one:

Matching Simple Sun Tattoo

Image by @oghieflores_tattoo via Instagram

Matching Mountain and Star Tattoo Design

Image by @gypsyjuicetattoo via Instagram

Matching Twin Butterflies On The Ribs

Image by @rangerstudio via Instagram

Best friend rib tattoos

Image by @laina_hahn via Instagram

Matching flaming hearts

Image by @ittle_firebreather via Instagram

Matching pinky promise tattoo design

Image by @tattoos.by.ellise and the_tattooed_geisha via Instagram

Are Rib Tattoos Feminine?

Yes, rib tattoos and body art can be incredibly feminine. You are most likely to see women get these tattoos than men.

The area around the ribs can be quite a sensual section to get a tattoo as well. You can look incredibly sexy after getting a tattoo here.

How Painful is a Tattoo on Your Ribs?

Here is some bad news - a rib tattoo is one of the most painful tattoos you are likely to get.

There isn't much fat on this part of the body. Not to mention, the skin is quite thin here too. Therefore, it can often feel like the bones beneath are being tattooed.

To add to this, whenever you take a breath, you are moving the skin and bone upwards and this can make it even more painful.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't go ahead with your tattoo, though. Instead, opt for something simple - this way the tattoo will not take as much time.

That being said, always consider your decision about getting a tattoo on such a sensitive area. Make sure that this is a level of discomfort you can tolerate. If you have never gotten any ink done before, this may not be the best part of the body for your first tattoo.

Do Rib Tattoos Take Longer to Heal?

Here's some good news - tattoos around the rib cage heal at the same rate as tattoos on other parts of the body. It will usually take about two to three weeks for the tattoo to completely heal.

To help the process along, make sure to keep the area clean and follow any after care instructions that our artist has given you.

What Should a Girl Wear to Get a Rib Tattoo?

This depends on the exact spot that you are getting a rib tattoo. If it is lower down, you can get away with wearing a crop top. This will give the tattoo artist easy access to the spot and you don't have to worry about hiking your shirt up during the process.

If your rib tattoo is higher up near the bra line, consider a loose muscle tee. These have low, open sides, giving the artist access to the upper portion of your ribs.

You may not be able to wear a bra to get this kind of tattoo. If you can't go without one, wear a string bikini. Once your top is removed, the artist can ink a side tattoo down your entire side if needed.

You could also consider a paste on bra as it will leave the sides free.

Phew! That was quite a list but now you know all your options. It's time to figure out which of these rib tattoo designs really speaks to you. Happy searching.

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